Hip resurfacing offers bone-saving alternative to total hip replacement

Scripted by Michaela Meaney, animated by Next Media Animation. 

By Michaela Meaney 

At 53 years old, arthritis controlled Timothy Byrne’s life. The pain in his hip affected just about everything he did. He could not sleep. He had trouble getting in and out of the car. Even bending over to start the lawn mower felt like a challenge.

“I really couldn’t pull the pull cord on the lawn mower anymore because of the pain factor,” said Byrne, of Wickliffe, Ohio, now 57 years old. “And, you know, if it takes three of four pulls to get the lawn mower started, I could hardly pull it once without being in excruciating pain, much less walking to mow it once it started.” Continue reading “Hip resurfacing offers bone-saving alternative to total hip replacement”

Wildlife face fatalities in the push for green energy

Two wind turbines provide energy for a Walgreens in Evanston at 635 Chicago Ave.

By Michaela Meaney

Wildlife advocates see enormous risks for birds, bats and other animals as wind turbines spread across the country. The major concern is how to prevent wildlife fatalities in the push to go green.

“We’ve rushed toward alternative energy without having the knowledge or experience to control it regularly,” said Michael Hutchins, at a recent panel discussion hosted by the Chicago Ornithological Society and Sierra Club. Continue reading “Wildlife face fatalities in the push for green energy”

Friends of the Parks sues Chicago to block proposed Lucas museum site

By Michaela Meaney 

Friends of the Parks filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court to block the proposed lakefront site for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The action is filed against the Chicago Park District and the city of Chicago. The group states in the suit that the site violates the Illinois public trust doctrine.

“Ultimately Chicago does not want to look back and regret an injudicious decision to sacrifice our lakefront, Chicago’s greatest natural asset,” said Cassandra Francis, president of Friends of the Parks, during a press conference Thursday. “So let’s use ‘The Force’ to do good for Chicago.” Continue reading “Friends of the Parks sues Chicago to block proposed Lucas museum site”

Nachusa Grasslands: Home for both bison and volunteers


Photos by Michaela Meaney/MEDILL

By Michaela Meaney

Chicagoan Jay Stacy saw the ad in the paper – a call for volunteers to restore damaged prairie in Franklin Grove, a remnant of the vast grasslands that once covered Illinois. That was 20 years ago and Stacy, then 47, had never heard of taking destroyed land and reversing the harm.

Stacy telephoned the Illinois Nature Conservancy, owners of the then 250-acre site called Nachusa Grasslands, and asked, “Once land is destroyed, can you do that?”

The Nature Conservancy believed it could. With that hope, Stacy picked up, moved to farm country and then settled into a seasonal campground, 100 miles west of Chicago just outside of Rochelle. He lived in a trailer for the first two years before taking up permanent residence in the city of Oregon.

Continue reading “Nachusa Grasslands: Home for both bison and volunteers”

Climate change on the rise but you can take action, experts say

By: Michaela Meaney and Melissa Schenkman

Climate change is happening at a rate faster than ever before, experts said Wednesday.

“It’s actually occurring about 10 times faster, over 10 times faster actually, than what has been observed since the end of the last ice age,” said Don Wuebbles, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climatologist. “So this is going on extremely rapidly.”

Wuebbles and WGN chief meteorologist Tom Skilling discussed the uptick in extreme weather, climate change, and what it means for the future at a breakfast gathering at Chicago’s Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC),. This gathering comes just ahead of the 40th session of the IPCC in Copenhagen, Denmark, Oct. 27-30.

Continue reading “Climate change on the rise but you can take action, experts say”

Numbers in Nature: Explore the links at the Museum of Science and Industry

By Michaela Meaney

Have you ever noticed the spiral pattern shared by a seahorse’s tail and a snail’s shell? Or that the branches on a tree look just like the bronchioles in your lungs? Or why your arms, when spread out side to side, measure nearly the same length as your height?

These aren’t coincidences. They deliver a series of mathematical equations connecting nature and our lives. The Museum of Science and Industry’s new permanent exhibit, Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze, gives a new way to look at the world by identifying the connections all around us.

“The same patterns that exist in nature also exist in our bodies,” said John Beckman, the museum’s director of exhibit design and development. “I think it’s really cool to discover there’s all this math around you every day.”

Continue reading “Numbers in Nature: Explore the links at the Museum of Science and Industry”

Furry friends – or foes – return to Illinois

By Michaela Meaney

‘Cougars, gray wolves and black bears – oh, my!’ Illinois residents may soon be able to justify misquoting the famous phrase from Dorothy and her friends.

These animals, missing from the state wildlife populations for more than 150 years, are slowly making their way back. So what do you do when they head down your yellow brick road – or driveway? In a recent conference at the Brookfield Zoo, academics, wildlife workers and volunteers discussed the return of these furry friends and how to prepare for their return. Continue reading “Furry friends – or foes – return to Illinois”

Cockroaches and meteor-wrongs get the right ID at the Field Museum

By Michaela Meaney

Ever wonder if that rock you saw fall from the sky is a meteorite? Or what type of shell you picked up on the beach at Hilton Head? And just who is the bug that’s wandered up your wall? Have no fear, the Chicago Field Museum is here to identify your discoveries.

The museum’s recent Identification Day – a first – invited visitors to bring in fossils, insects and other objects or critters they wanted identified by museum researchers. Continue reading “Cockroaches and meteor-wrongs get the right ID at the Field Museum”